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Fat owners linked to fat dogs--but not fat cats

January 14, 2010 |  5:23 pm

Many thanks to the Lempert Report for alerting us to a piece of pet-obesity news. A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition investigated the relationship between body weight in pet owners and body weight in their pets. Its finding: Overweight owners tend to have overweight dogs, as other studies have reported before. But no such relationship was seen between owners and pet cats.

Going out on a limb, the Dutch authors conclude that this difference may be due to the fact that dog owners either walk their dogs--or don't. The same relationship does not hold for cats, which tend not to be walked. Among other study limitations, the authors do note in their report (which we read, but warn you it requires a purchase to be accessed in full) that the sample sizes were small: 36 cat-owner pairs and 47 dog-owner pairs.

Some, of course, have found ways to break down this relationship between exercise-the-dog and exercise-the-owner. At a Highland Park dog park not long back, we spotted a car, window open, with a leash trailing out of it. Attached to the end was a dog, huffing and puffing to keep up with the moving vehicle.

To read more studies about the consequences of obesity in dogs and cats, go to American Veterinary Medical Assn. TV, here. And for an AVMA collection of studies on obesity and dogs, go here. (I'm not finding a similar collection for obesity in cats, AVMA--what's going on here?!)

-- Rosie Mestel

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